1982 Porsche 956 Chassis 001
The 956 prototype, chassis 001, and the father of all Group C Porsches – on a cloudy March day in 1982, this is the revolutionary machine that Jacky Ickx pronounced “Amazing!” after its first day of proper testing at Le Castellet Circuit Paul Ricard on 31 March 1982.
The 956/962 programme delivered Porsche six Le Mans 24 wins, five World Sportscar Championships and five Drivers’ World Championships – making Porsche’s endurance racer one of the most successful race cars of the 20th century.
The 956 was developed by an in-house team of Porsche engineers, all long-term employees, with Norbert Singer as project manager. Just nine months passed from Porsche board approval through completion of 001 in March 1982.
Nearly 600 horsepower was developed from the six-cylinder powerplant adapted from Porsche’s 2.65-litre Indy engine. Spun up by twin KKK turbochargers and fed by Bosch mechanical fuel injection – the unit weighed just 185 kilograms and was designed to meet the exacting Group C fuel consumption limit.
Extensive wind tunnel testing had perfected the 956’s aerodynamics package, a balance between high top speed and ground effect cornering. The strength and stiffness of the new alloy monocoque took the strain of loads and cornering speeds that were greater than ever before.
In her first competitive outing, Ickx and Bell came 2nd in 001 at the 1982 Silverstone 6 Hours, only held back from the win by team orders and fuel consumption limits. The next race was Le Mans, where 956s in Rothmans livery claimed an emphatic first, second, and third overall, with 001 along as spare car.
Chassis 001’s über-historic importance as a moving test bed cannot be overestimated. She completed over 11,000 kilometres of testing in period with drivers including Jacky Ickx, Derek Bell, Jochen Maas and more.
Gifted to Jacky Ickx at the end of 1986 and subsequently residing in U.S. collections, 001 was returned to Britain in 2005 by noted Group C collector Henry Pearman, and is now offered to market from another outstanding racing collection. Returned to Porsche for a reunion with Norbert Singer and other racing engineers, 001 was found to be in excellent original condition.
956 001 is the subject of an exclusive and extensively illustrated monograph book fully documenting its starring role in the 956 program – from creation, through testing, and on to Porsche’s famous 1-2-3 sweep of the 1982 Le Mans.
Displayed at the 2022 Goodwood Members Meeting for a 40th anniversary celebration, 001 has appeared many times with 5x Le Mans winner Derek Bell and at innumerable historic motor racing events.
Being the prototype 956, 001 is surely one of the most important and historic Porsche competition cars to come to market – for those with a Group C obsession, she will be the prize of any outstanding collection and the entryway to all the world’s greatest motorsport events.
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